The sign of a widely accepted, maturing network equipment market is a growing emphasis on management features. After years of slow but steady acceptance, such a transition appears to be taking place in the Wide Area Network ï¿¼(WAN) optimization space.With its Steelhead line, Riverbed has emerged as emerged as a leading supplier of WAN optimization products, which streamline communication among remote sites. As the product genre has gained acceptance, the vendor has tried to push into new market segments, and network management was the focus in its decision to purchase Mazu Networks.
Founded in 2000, Mazu, which is based in Cambridge, MA, will become a Riverbed business unit. In an interesting twist perhaps designed to ensure that no surprises will occur during these turbulent economic times, Riverbed will pay $25 when the deal closes in the next few months and could add another $22 million to the pot in the next 12 months depending on Mazuï¿¼s ability to meet its sales target.
The companyï¿¼s management tools have helped businesses enhance network performance. Mazuï¿¼s Profiler relies on Network Behavior Analysis to correlate IT infrastructure, network traffic patterns, and user interactions and create a picture of application performance. Customers use this information to ensure application availability, improve system performance, and enhance security functions.
Moving forward, Riverbed has a number of options for trying to leverage the purchase. At the very least, the Mazu line may appeal to existing customers. In addition, the management features could be integrated into Steelhead appliances reducing the number of products needed and making it simpler for small and medium businesses to manage their networks. WAN optimization products started out in a narrow niche but have been gradually expanding their reach, a change Riverbed is attempting to continue with the Mazu acquisition.